John Ortberg has written a powerful testament to the impact that Jesus has had on human history, on the human condition, and on our understanding of the obligations of one human being to another. John demonstrates that nothing in our existence has been quite the same since that fateful Sunday so long ago,
My favourite quote comes from page 14 in the first chapter:
“It is in Jesus name that desperate people pray, grateful people worship, and angry people swear. From christenings to weddings to sickrooms to funerals, it is in Jesus’ name that people are hatched, matched, patched, and dispatched. From the Dark Ages to postmodernity, he is the man who won’t go away.”
If I were to pick a quote that sums up the whole book really well it would be from page 131:
“where did the idea come from of the world gathered together – people of every gender, every nationality, every status – like a family? Where before Jesus was there a moment that actively sought to include every singe human being, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, status, income, gender, moral background, or education, to be loved and transformed? Not only had there never been a community like that before, but there simply had never been the idea of a community like the before. It was Jesus’ idea. And it was happening. While pagan priests and magistrates competed in their “love of honour”, Christians termed it “vainglory”… To the poor, the widows and the orphans, Christians gave alms… Pagans had never seen any spiritual merit in the status of the poor… Whereas pagan trade societies and most of their religious groups segregated the sexes among their membership, Christians included men and women alike. In the Greek world, slaves were generally excluded from these pagan groups: Christians even admitted slaves of pagan masters.”
John quotes historian Michael Grant (page 155) and I feel this statement sums up the historical Jesus rather well:
” [T]he most potent figure, not only in history of religion , but in the world history as a whole, is Jesus Christ, the maker of one of a few revolutions which have lasted. Millions of men and women for century after century have found his life and teaching overwhelmingly significant and moving.”
I lead a small group of 10 through the study of this book and it was so compelling, it really makes you think about things that we take for granted like gender equality and the value of children. The videos were fantastic and the book is very accessible and full of fresh insights. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, skeptic, seeker or believer.
Please take a look at the trailer and enjoy!